Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 18:40 UK

Freckles prove paedophile's guilt

Police photo of freckles on Dean Hardy's left thumb
Freckles and blemishes on the male thumb were identical to Hardy's

A paedophile who abused a Thai girl was caught out by his distinctive freckles which were captured in a photograph.

Dean Hardy, 50, from Orpington, south-east London, took photos of young girls being sexually abused during a business trip he made to Thailand.

A police forensics team found that freckles on a male thumb in the photos matched those on Hardy's left hand.

Hardy, who admitted indecent assault and taking and possessing indecent photos, will be sentenced on 23 April.

'First of kind'

Southwark Crown Court heard that 63 indecent photos were found on memory cards from Hardy's cameras and his computer hard drive.

Two photographs showed South-East Asian girls, aged between eight and 10, being abused by an adult.

Hardy's face was not in the photos but a forensic anthropologist found the freckles and blemishes on the male thumb were identical to Hardy's.

Prosecuting, Peter Zinner, said the case was "the first of its kind".

Police also found evidence that the furniture salesman had travelled to Thailand between March and April 2004, when the pictures were taken.

Hardy pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 13, four counts of taking indecent photographs of children and one count of possessing indecent photographs.

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